Smackdown! Live has so much in store for us tonight! We're told AJ Styles and James Ellsworth will finally have their much-anticipated title showdown, Heath Slater vs. Tyler Breeze vs. Konnor in a match where the winner's team will get a Tag Team Title shot and Dean Ambrose takes on Luke Harper in singles action. Join us here at 8pm/ET live as we cover Smackdown! Live as it happens.
SMACKDOWN! LIVE (12.20.16)
DETROIT, MI (Joe Louis Arena)
Host: Tom Phillips
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, John "Bradshaw" Layfield, David Otunga
Written by Brendan Wahl
WWE Title Match
AJ Styles (c) vs. James Ellsworth
James comes out with fists up and locks up with AJ but the champ easily gets out of it. He goes for the superkick early but Styles blocks it and assaults James with rapid-fire forearm shots for the win.
WINNER via PINFALL: AJ Styles (:45)
AJ assaults Ellsworth after the match, even dropping him face-first on the steps and then kicking him in the head. AJ slingshots James' neck against the bottom of the ring before finally leaving with his title. Or does he? No, he decides to come back and suplexes James against the barricade as he is stretchered out. Styles then gets in the ring and says that all that was built up for six weeks and was a long time comin'. AJ says he can move on to 2017 now because he already has everything he wants for Christmas. Next week's challenger, Dolph Ziggler, makes his way out to the ring and reminds Styles of that very upcoming match. AJ calls him a loser so Dolph brings up AJ's less-than-stellar record against Ellsworth. Dolph says that AJ's not going to have an easy night next week because Dolph's already gone full-tilt back when his career was on the line. Baron Corbin is out next and says that HE sshould be the one with the title shot. Dolph says he earned his shot while Baron was having a fun time in New York City with his little award. Baron says that Dolph will lose the title match next week because that's what he does... so next week -- oh and Baron drops him with right hands! He lays Dolph out with End of Days as AJ looks on from the aisle.
Daniel Bryan tells Ziggler not to let Baron Corbin get under his skin but DZ wants Baron here tonight! Bryan says that's fine but if Dolph loses tonight then Baron gets his title shot against Styles next week.
WWE Intercontinental Title Match
The Miz (c) vs. Apollo Crews
Crews starts out quick with a few rollup combinations for near falls but Miz backs up. He whips the challenger into the corner but Crews is able to duck some offense and hits a big dropkick for a two count. Miz misses a dropkick of his own so Crews grabs another two count off that. Miz rolls to the outside so Apollo baseball slides him and then gets a moonsault off the apron to the floor. Back in the ring, Crews gets a top-rope cross-body for a two count and Miz bails to the floor as we take a commercial break.
We come back with Crews using kicks to the head and a big jumping clothesline. He follows that up with a standing enzuiguri for another two count. He goes for something but Miz counters and then Crews counters that into a rollup for a near fall. He grabs yet another close two count but still can't put the champion away. Crews misses an avalanche but catches Miz with a back elbow. Maryse tries to grab Crews by the head but the ref catches her and ejects her from ringside. Crews grabs a rollup as a result of this distraction and gets a two count. A HUGE German Suplex gets another heart-stopping two count for Crews. Miz flips out of a back suplex and catches the ref in the face, allowing Miz to poke Crews in the eyes and hit the Skull-Crushing Finale for the win.
WINNER via PINFALL: The Miz (8:37)
Renee Young comes in to ask Miz about Dean Ambrose and he brings up her real relationship with Ambrose. Renee takes great offense to that and SLAPS Miz across the face before quickly leaving the ring.
Natalya calls out Nikki Bella for a conversation but before anything can be said, Carmella interrupts right away. Nikki asks how she knows that Carmella wasn't the one who attacked her at Survivor Series. Carm responds by saying that Nikki's silicone must be leaking into her brain and then accuses Nattie of acting and being the guilty party. Carmella also says that Nattie made disparaging remarks about the Bellas and the Canadian fires back by calling Carmella a "dirty Staten Island snitch." Nikki asks Natalya if she attacked her but she simply goes after Carmella, causing her to retreat to the back. Nattie then goes back on the microphone and admits to attacking Nikki ("Alright... I did it you bitch") and talks about being wrestling royalty while Nikki was just handed everything because she looks good. Nattie says that she should have gotten all that and adds that her cat has more charisma than her. She calls Nikki a nothing and says that's why John will never marry her.
Daniel Bryan tells an "injured" Alexa Bliss that Becky Lynch will face her for the Smackdown Women's Title match next week and he also notes that the trainers have said that she's 100% ready to compete. Also, if Bliss doesn't wrestle in her match tonight, she'll be stripped of the title.
Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper [w /The Wyatt Family] (Tag Team Champions)
We get a nice series of exchanges to start which ends with Dean sending Harper to the outside early but then the Wyatt Family member slingshots Dean on the ropes and kicks HIM to the outside as we take a break.
We come back with a battle on the top rope. Ambrose shoves Harper down but gets caught with a spinning side slam for a two count. Harper gets a pendulum backbreaker and then uses an overhead variation of the move but Ambrose fights out and gets a big lariat. Harper fires back by sending Dean into the second turnbuckle and booting him out of the ring but Dean comes back with a dive to the outside. Harper moves out of the way but Bray and Orton receive the brunt of it. Back in the ring, Harper gets a sit-out powerbomb for a two count. They go through a rollup reversal sequence which ends up with Dean on top for the three count.
WINNER via PINFALL: Dean Ambrose (7:42)
The Wyatts then put the beating on Ambrose with the Sister Abigail/RKO combination. As Dean can barely recover, Miz and Maryse are out and the IC Champion takes him down with the Skull-Crushing Finale. Miz and Maryse share a kiss and stand triumphantly over the fallen Lunatic.
La Luchadora vs. Alexa Bliss (Women's Champion)
La Luchadora (who is clearly Becky) uses her speed at first and gets a quick takedown for a one count. She gets a schoolboy for another one count and then goes to work on the arm. Becky then gets a sunset flip for a two count and goes to a snap mare and body scissors as she rolls Bliss all around the ring. Bliss comes back with some vicious forearm shots for a pinfall attempt of her own and then chokes her on the ropes but Becky fires back and gets the Disarm-Her for the victory because of course it's Becky Lynch.
WINNER via PINFALL: La Luchadora (3:01)
Luchadora quickly unmasks to reveal that (SURPRISE!) it's Becky Lynch.
Ryan Phillippe meets up with Mojo Rawley in the hallway as he searches for Randy Orton. However, Mojo tells him that Orton is a different dude and real creepy. Curt Hawkins then pops up out of nowhere and confuses Phillippe with Mark Wahlberg. He gets in Mojo's face but the Hype Bro fires back despite Curt's "Cruel Intentions" crack.
Ryan Phillippe joins the announce table for color commentary.
Mojo Rawley vs. Curt Hawkins
Curt starts out quick on offense after tricking him with a footrace but Mojo shoulderblocks him down immediately afterwards and tries to drag him into the ring. Hawkins comes back by sending Mojo to the buckles a couple times and gets a two count. He goes to a chinlock but Mojo fights out and then gets a big backdrop. Mojo hits a couple of shoulderblocks and a big clothesline followed by a pair of avalanches in the corner and then a version of the Pounce. Mojo flattens Hawkins with a clothesline in the corner and that's all she wrote.
WINNER via PINFALL: Mojo Rawley (2:30)
Mojo and Ryan celebrate in the ring together.
An interview with James Ellsworth is derailed because James is in way too much pain to communicate. Carmella then swoops in and takes him away to care for him for some reason.
WWE Champion AJ Styles joins the announce table for color commentary.
Winner faces AJ Styles for the WWE Title next week
Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin
We start off quick with Ziggler dropkicking Corbin out of the ring, forcing the Lone Wolf to stalk around back and forth. When he gets back in, Dolph goes for the legs but the big man shoves him down and then hits a big knee to the head. Corbin shoves Dolph throat-first into the top rope before pummeling him on the outside of the ring with a knee to the ribs. He quickly sends Dolph back in the ring for a two count but then the Ohio native quickly fights back with right hands. However, Corbin sends him chest-first into the buckles and grabs another near fall. Corbin yanks on Ziggler's arm and then puts him in the corner for a massive chop to the chest. He sends Dolph chest-first into the buckle a second time for another close count but can't get the job done. Dolph slips out of a bodyslam attempt and gets a dropkick as well as a nice clothesline but a charge in the corner results in him getting hotshotted onto the top rope. Baron's charge meets elbow but he does his little do-see-do from the outside back in and crushes Ziggler's head against the ringpost. We take a commercial break with both men on the outside and a concerned look on AJ's face.
We come back with Ziggler fighting out of a chinlock. Baron gets sent into the corner and Ziggler hits his Fameasser for a two count. Corbin sends Dolph into the corner but his powerbomb is countered into a sunset flip for two. Corbin quickly gets an STO for two. Corbin wastes time yelling at Styles at the table and then nails Ziggler with a vicious right hand as he comes off the ropes. Ziggler struggles to his feet and grabs a rollup for a near fall but Corbin quickly FLATTENS his opponent with a clothesline for a two count of his own. Dolph hangs Baron over the middle rope and neckbreakers him onto it before hitting the Zig-Zag... FOR TWO. Dolph pummels Baron in the corner and puts him on the top rope then following it up with right hands and headbutts. Corbin elbows him and climbs down, nailing Ziggler with the Deep Six... FOR TWO. Ziggler falls to the outside and then Corbin quickly scoops him up and throws him into the barricade a couple of times. The third time, he tosses Ziggler into Styles at the announce table but then the blonde-haired warrior superkicks him! The ref counts both guys out.
DOUBLE COUNTOUT (15:38)
AJ Styles takes a chair to get revenge as he nails both potential challengers multiple times in the back. Daniel Bryan quickly comes out and makes next week's title match under triple threat rules with AJ, Dolph and Corbin.